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hello there. welcome to "newsline." it's wednesday, january 30th. i'm catherine kobayashi i tokyo. the team managing the transition of power in south korea has been thrown into
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disarray. president-elect park geun-hye nominated kim yong joon last week for prime minister, but now he's withdrawn his name. wim served as chief of the constitutional court and he led park's transition team. but allegations surfaced that his two sons were exempted from military service for invalid reasons. and many south koreans have criticized him for his extensive property holdings. kim reportedly apologized to the public and to park for causing trouble. park will become the country's first female president next month. park has been warning the outgoing president not to abuse his power. but park his lee myung bak has ignored her advice. he pardoned political allies, friends, and others who had been convicted of corruption. park and lee have been rivals since vying for their party's presidential nomination six years ago. president lee pardoned the former head of the korean communications commission and the former national assembly
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speaker. those were jailed for bribery. and he pardoned a number of others. park's spokesperson said pardoning anyone involved in corruption is abuse of presidential power. the pardons have rekindled a long-running debate over those powers. presidents typically issue pardons during their terms. park has received a visit from another high-profile politician. myanmar's pro-democracy leader aung san suu kyi. nhk world's soichi tsukamoto has more from seoul. >> reporter: last year aung san suu kyi traveled for the first time since long periods of house arrest. now on her first visit to southeast asia since being elected to parliament she is asking her korean hosts to support myanmar's democratization as the country is still in its infancy. >> you will be in a better position to help other peoples everywhere. when we talk about peace and
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prosperity in our country, we're not talking about it just for our people. but for human beings the world over. >> reporter: park geun-hye and aung san suu kyi have similar backgrounds. both grew up as the daughters of the top politicians in their respective countries. and both of their fathers were assassinated. the president-elect of korea says she feels a strong connection with the nobel laureate and praises her achievements. >> translator: i admire your long-term dedication to the cause of democracy in your country and the sacrifices you have made. i know what life is like when you decide to give up your own happiness and to treat your peo. >> reporter: myanmar has been called the last frontier of asia
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where some countries, japan, china are among those vying to make economic inroads into the country. korean air started direct flights to yangon last year. last may lee myung bak became the first south korean president to visit myanmar in 29 years. he met with his counterpart than seng during his trip. he pledges increase korean investment into myanmar because of the country's great potential. before meeting with park, aung san suu kyi met with lee myung bak to discuss issues such as economic development and dedication. they pledge further cooperation between their countries. both south korea's incumbent president and its president-elect will count the democratic icon.
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their attitude says that south korea is eager to work on multiple fronts toward a firm relationship with myanmar, whether they are dealing with the president or the opposition leader. soichi tsukamoto, nhk world, seoul. u.s. secretary of state hillary clinton has urged north korea to give up on the idea of conducting another nuclear test. she made the appeal during a question and answer session with citizens and reporters around the world. she'll leave office on friday. clinton said she has been watching how kim jong un has developed as a leader. >> we expected him to focus on improving the lives of the north korean people, not just the elite but everyone, to have more education, more openness, more opportunity. and instead he has engaged in very provocative rhetoric and behavior. >> clinton said u.s. officials will work together with their allies to try to change that
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behavior. she underscored the importance of north korea's closest ally. >> we want to see a rising power like china join the international community as a responsible stakehold er, continue its extraordinary efforts to lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, create a strong vital middle class, have respectful relations with its neighbors in all of the ways on land and sea that that is required. the u.s. senate has approved john kerry to replace clinton as secretary of state. afghan president hamid karzai has called on the taliban to respond to his government's call for peace talks. he insists that foreign powers should not lead the process. karzai made the comments in a speech in the capital kabul. he said the taliban must take part in negotiations if afghans are to live in peace.
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>> translator: some foreign powers have approached the taliban to hold talks through side channels rather than working with the government. but the taliban should not be cheated. >> the taliban have set up a liaison office in qatar and called on u.s. officials to lead talks. they say karzai and his administration are a puppet government, and they've rejected direct talks. american, japanese, and european auto makers have all felt the pinch of the european debt crisis, but one is feeling it in particular. ai uchida joins us now from the business desk. so ai, we've talked before about what's been a rough ride for automakers. >> we have, catherine. and you might remember e.u. new car sales plunged to a 17-year low last year. but one american carmaker in particular, as you say, is feeling the pinch. executives at ford saw profits
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plunge in 2012. sales in europe were weak due to the region's debt crisis. ford executives say the firm's net income xlum meted more than 70% year on year to $5.7 billion. they sold nearly 6 million cars worldwide last year, down half a percent from 2011. sales in north america were upbeat, but european sales tumbled over 15%. u.s. automakers including ford are raising their voices against japan's currency policy. they say the weakened yen hurts their earnings and gives japanese rivals an unfair advantage. people in the u.s. are more pessimistic about their financial situation. consumer confidence plunged in january to the lowest level in over a year. researchers at analytics firm the conference board say the index dropped to 58.6. that's down 8.1 point from december and is the lowest level since november 2011.
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they say the increase in the payroll tax has dampened consumer sentiment. u.s. share prices are rising as investors expect an economic recovery. but the focus now is what impact the increased pessimism will have on personal spending, which accounts for 70% of u.s. gross domestic product. officials at royal philips electronics in the netherlands will sell their audiovisual equipment division to a japanese firm. they want to take a step back from consumer electronics and focus on their medical and health-related business. the philips division makes products like video decks, portable music players, and headphones. japan's funai electric is set to acquire it by the end of this year. officials of the two firms say they made a deal for 150 million euros. that's over $200 million. philips officials have also spun off their television business to a joint venture with a taiwanese
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firm. now, funai electric plans to maintain the philips brand and expand sales to emerging economies in asia and south america. one of japan's major oil wholesalers will join forces with a canadian gas firm. idemitsu-kosan announced it will build a liquefied natural gas plant in canada with altagas. executives at idemitsu said tuesday the two firms agreed to form a joint venture. the new plant will be built on the west coast of canada. they plan to start shipping 2 million tons of lng annually to japan and other countries as early as in 2017. the executives say the lng will have a price advantage as it will be produced at canadian market prices. shipping costs will be lower because of geographical closeness compared with sourcing from the middle east and the u.s. east coast. demand for lng has been rising in japan since the nuclear accident in fukushima.
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that's because it's the main fuel used for thermal power generation. let's get a check on market prices now. tokyo stock prices are trading higher. an overnight rise in new york is raising expectations for a u.s. economic recovery. the nikkei average at 10,952 at the moment, up .8%. many investors are buying export-related shares. they're anticipating a further decline in the yen against other currencies. well, let's take a look. on the tokyo foreign exchange the dollar is moving in a narrow range against the yen. many market players are waiting for the outcome of the u.s. fed policy meeting later in the day at 90.84-87. the euro, meanwhile, is trading higher against other currencies. market participants say that's because worries over euro debt issues are receding somewhat. the euro/yen, 122.51-56 at
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moment. and in other asian markets we are seeing a loss of over .1% on the kospi. 1,952 over in seoul. let's see what's happening in australia. the benchmark index is trading higher by a fourth of a percent. 4,900. well, that is going to do it in business for this hour. i'm going to leave you with a look at some other markets in asia open this hour. ♪ japanese government officials have spent the past few weeks trying to find out what happened in a hostage crisis in algeria. then they had to bring the remains of ten japanese victims
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home. now they've pledged $120 million to help stabilize countries in africa. senior vice dporn minister masaji matsuyama made the pledge at a donor conference in the ethiopian capital addis ababa. >> terrorism takes away innocent lives. we will never condone such acts. >> he said donor countries need to address poverty and unemployment if they are to eradicate terrorism. he said government officials have earmarked the money for security measures and to help refugees and nations in conflict. japanese officials are focusing on the terrorist threat at home, too. officials with the national police agency say nuclear plants are an obvious target. they're asking for more money to reinforce security. agency leaders are requesting nearly $20 million for the coming year. that's four times the budget for
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the year that ends in march. they're hoping to buy more machine guns and bulletproof vehicles. officers are stationed at 22 nuclear facilities nationwide. they guard them around the clock. but they say they need more safeguards against the threat of islamist terrorists and other extremist groups. thousands of people waiting to go home. tons of debris waiting for disposal. vast tracts of land waiting to be restored. overcoming the challenges of japan's 2011 disaster won't be easy. but step by step people are moving forward. find out how on "the road ahead," every wednesday at 1:00 p.m. japan time right here on "newsline." chinese protesters in guangzhou have been rallying against a government newspaper.
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in taiwan people are also protesting about the media. they're worried about the increase of pro-china ownership and coverage. nhk world's naoki makita reports from taipei. >> reporter: the apple daily is one of taiwan's four major newspapers. until recently it had more readers than all but one of its competitors. owned by hong kong interests the daily was known for articles that criticized china's government. but in november that changed. in a purchase that is expected to receive the approval of the authorities, a consortium of companies bought the paper. and the major partner wang wang group is pro-china. if there had been any doubt, the company showed its colors in september.
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a fleet of taiwanese boats entered waters around the senkaku islands in protest against japan's control over the islands. the boats displayed the company banner and mascot. the chairman of the company helped finance the expedition by donating $140,000 to it. the apple daily joins a list of other taiwan media outlets owned by the group. it already owns a major cable tv news station on the island. and the "china times" newspaper. when taiwan authorities approved the purchase of apple daily, wang wang group will officially own two of taiwan's four major newspapers. "china times" used to be known for unbiased coverage, but under its new ownership the paper tends to support china. as an example, in the senkaku
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dispute it calls on taiwan to cooperate with china in countering japan. as for coverage of the protests in china over newspaper censorship, it's not extensive. earlier this month taiwanese demonstrators rallied in central taipei. they were protesting against growing concentration of media ownership by pro-chinese interests. the event was organized by the largest opposition bloc, the democratic progressive party. its members want taiwan to have a separate identity from china. some protesters carried a banner stating wang wang group must go. police said about 90,000 people protested. many expressed concern about the future of taiwan's media.
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>> translator: there should be no media monopoly. it restricts diversity of opinion. >> translator: we have to be wary of china's ambitions for our economy and freedom of speech. i find that reprehensible. >> reporter: under the president taiwan is improving its economic ties with mainland china. this is evident in the tourism business. last year over 2 million chinese travelers visited taiwan. that far surpasses the number of visitors from japan. until four years ago it was japan that sent the most tourists. many in taiwan are concerned by the inroads pro-chinese interests have made in the economy. and now the taiwanese worry their media may not be far behind.
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naoki makita, nhk world, taipei. a laugh a day keeps the doctor away. or so the old saying goes. women in a port town in northern japan are carrying that message as they honor a local tradition. nhk world's takumi hayashi has the story. >> reporter: hachinohe in aomori prefecture is one of japan's busiest fishing ports. over ten years women here have had a contest with a difference, to find the funniest fishwife. they're using old-fashioned humor to keep people in the city smiling. the current champion is yoko kanehama. hachinohe has a long tradition of women fish sellers. these days there are fewer actual fishwives.
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but their legendary vigor and energetic humor are being kept alive by the annual competition. in fact, kanehama is anything but a fishwife. >> translator: my name is ryoko kanehama. i'm very pleased to meet you. kanehama has never sold a fish in her wife. she's a quiet refined woman who's been stud yug tying the a traditional japanese dance for over 20 years. >> translator: everyone is amazing that i'm doing this. they can't believe it's the same person. but somehow when i transform myself into a fishwife it's like flicking a switch inside me. >> reporter: kanehama took up this side hobby after her mother died. 15 years ago her mother fell ill
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with a brain tumor. she never smiled again. and eight months later she passed away. a year later kanehama joined the group of volunteers who go around visiting elderly people in the community. this was how her fishwife act was born, as a way to bring smiles to the faces of the senior citizens. >> translator: the best thing is to see people laughing. people need to laugh out loud at least once a day. that's why i started doing this. >> reporter: since she won the competition, kanehama has been in hot demand. to get into character she uses various problems so she looks the part of a buxom fishwife.
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>> i'm ready now. >> reporter: the room is buzzing. lots of local people have come to see kanehama in action. >> translator: i laughed with all my heart. >> translator: it was wonderful. she performed with all her heart, and i'm so grateful. >> translator: i really appreciate being able to see so many people laughing. seeing their smiles, it's a blessing for me too.
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>> reporter: kanehama doesn't have to fish for laughs. she's a natural comedian keeping alive a long and vibrant tradition. takumi hayashi, nhk world. hachinohe. people in tokyo are smiling too. they're seeing blue skies outside their windows. meet joiflt sayaka mori joins us now with what to expect in world weather. >> hi there. it's going to be a pleasant day here in tokyo with spring-like temperatures. the expected high is 12 degrees. a couple of degrees higher than seasonal. with plenty of sunshine. now, i want to draw your attention on saturday. your high is expected to be 16 degrees despite the cloudy skies. the reason for the significant warm-up is we have a high pressure system moving from the west that's going to bring very warm air from the south. the warm-up is also expected in northern japan tomorrow, and snow showers are finally
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dissipating this afternoon. good conditions for snow plowing. now let's go to some footage coming out of hokkaido. over a meter of snow has piled up in some places. the main roads have the municipalities' help, but residential areas need to clean the snow up themselves. this is where the movers' help comes in handy. the moving season is usually in the springtime so, they're willing to help because it's a good workout. so a nice break in the snowy weather in northern japan. now, out west we're seeing dense fog across the east and south of china. but that should be dispersing as rain comes in from the south. heavy rain is falling in the northern half of thailand. about 100 millimeters has been recorded over the past 24 hours and there's more to come into your thursday. so flooding, landslides are going to be a concern. temperatures are looking like this. 20 degrees in hong kong.
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warming up to 16 degrees in shanghai and 8 degrees in seoul on wednesday. now, in north america winter storm conditions are still persisting across the west. lots of heavy snow in the mountains. we have blizzard warnings posted for northeastern nevada. so travel is strongly discouraged. meanwhile, we have a long cloud band stretching from mexico up into the northeast. underneath it there is a lot of extreme weather happening. we have freezing rain and snow showers to the north and rain to the south. conditions are particularly severe in and around this low pressure system. we have reports of a couple of tornadoes touching down in arkansas and missouri. downed trees and power lines and hail the size of a golf ball. severe weather here will continue into tonight. but the system will slowly make its way toward the east affecting the eastern third of the u.s. on your wednesday. ahead of the system, very warm due to warm air coming in from the gulf of mexico. but back behind it, due to the
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arctic chill, temperatures are going down. minus 16 degrees is your expected high on wednesday in winnipeg. not too bad in chicago at 6, but we'll plum melt to minus 7 on thursday. you may want to bundle up once again. finally, in europe a parade of low pressure systems is moving across the north, bringing extremely windy conditions and wet conditions. the system will continue to head toward the east. now, to the south of the system warm air is flowing in from africa, pushing up temperatures. remaining in the double digits in london as well as paris, warming up to 12 degrees on your wednesday in berlin. here's your extended forecast. ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪
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and that wraps up this edition of "newsline." i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. do stay with us. we'll be back with more of your updates at the top of the hour.

PBS January 29, 2013 7:00pm-7:30pm PST

News/Business. World events, business news and weather forecasts; broadcast in English. (CC) (Stereo)

TOPIC FREQUENCY U.s. 11, China 11, Taiwan 11, Myanmar 6, Tokyo 6, Nhk 6, Taliban 5, Seoul 4, Newsline 3, Philips 3, The Apple Daily 2, Lee Myung Bak 2, Takumi Hayashi 2, Catherine Kobayashi 2, Wang Wang 2, Clinton 2, Funai 2, Europe 2, Canada 2, North America 2
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